Welcome to the Amway Center, home of this year’s NBA
All Star Game and a place where 2.7 million people have enjoyed sports,
entertainment and community events over the past two years.
When I look out at a crowd this big, this early in the
morning, it’s clear to me why you’re here.
I’m kidding, of course.
You are here because you have a special connection with Downtown.
You’re here because you are invested in the future of Downtown.
And, you’re here because of a shared belief in the importance of Downtown when it comes to our economy and our sense of community.
Nine years ago this month, I gave my first State of Downtown Address.
Every year since, this event has provided a platform for our community to advance the vision we have for Downtown.
Much has happened since that first address back in
2003, both positive and negative.
We doubled our skyline and tax base.
We watched hundreds of new businesses open.
But, as the recession has gone on, we’ve learned to measure progress differently.
We’ve had to focus on steady, but important gains and
long term investments in our future.
It’s an engine that is primed to help our City continue to move from recovery… into prosperity.
Everywhere you look Downtown, there are signs of progress:
Steps away from us, work is underway on SunRail.
Fifteen months from now, we will be able to board a
train that connects our communities in the City of Orlando, Volusia,
Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties.
We can’t talk about economic impact in Downtown
without mentioning the Creative Village.
In the coming months, the first signs of construction will appear at the Creative Village site as we lay the foundation for our City’s high tech industry cluster.
There’s more construction on the horizon with the expansion of Orlando Health and Florida Hospital… along with the Central Station project near the courthouse and Lynx headquarters; and new Magic Entertainment complex.
A refurbished Citrus Bowl is on the way, thanks to the dedication of our sports community and our partnership with Orange County and Mayor Teresa Jacobs.
Later today, I will help break ground on Sky House, which will be the first major residential high rise built in Orlando since the recession hit; another important sign that the tide is finally turning for our local economy and housing market.
We have accomplished much in less than a decade, breathing life back into a Downtown that was called a “ghost town” as recently as 2004.
As we celebrate what we’ve done to create a thriving nightlife scene and attract new residents and businesses, we also recognize that we have more work to do.
The top of our list of priorities includes taking
steps to attract more families and continuing to provide more shopping
and dining amenities for people of all ages.
Over the past few years, our urban core has taken a leadership role in one very specific area of innovation: Sustainability.
Of course, sustainability is the theme of today’s event.
In 2007, with the support of many Downtown stakeholders, Orlando became one of the first cities in the southeast to adopt a comprehensive program designed to create a more environmentally-friendly City -- called GreenWorks Orlando.
For years, Orlando had been the top City in America when it came to recycling our wastewater – a distinction we still hold today.
We used this as a starting point for our plan to reduce the use of our natural resources, save taxpayers money and protect our environment.
In the span of four years we have:
These initiatives, and many others, now save taxpayers
more than 1 million dollars per year.
GreenWorks Phase 2
I’m fond of saying success isn’t a destination… it’s a direction.
The idea behind the first phase of GreenWorks was to move our City in the right direction when it came to sustainability.
Our goal was to lead by example and show results that make, not only an environmental case for sustainability, but an economic one as well.
In doing so, we aimed to encourage our residents and businesses to include sustainability in their decision-making process.
With your help, we have succeeded.
Now, it’s time to build on our success.
Today, we are excited to launch the next phase of GreenWorks Orlando!
We’ve partnered with former Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty to put together the City’s first-ever GreenWorks Task Force.
Thank you, Mayor Crotty, for your many years of service to our community -- and for helping lead this important effort.
Would you, and the members of our task force, please stand and be recognized?
Mayor Crotty and our team of community partners will
be tasked with first crafting… and then helping to implement a set of
new and ambitious “green goals” for our community.
• Performing money-saving energy retrofits on fifty
percent of the homes in Orlando over the course of the next decade.
Taking these actions will build dramatically on the 11-thousand “green jobs” that already exist in our community and put people to work.
Finally we aim to take bold steps to reduce the amount of garbage we take to landfills and increase the amount of goods we recycle.
On that last point, we have another exciting announcement to make today.
Beginning the first week of November, the City of Orlando will launch its new Single-Cart Recycling program.
At that time, all current residential recycling customers will begin receiving their new 95 gallon recycling cart.
Say goodbye to those tiny red and blue bins.
And, say goodbye to separating your recyclables.
Instead, you can now put all of those recyclables into one, giant teal or burgundy cart.
This change will allow us to double both the number of people who recycle in Orlando and the amount of material we recycle.
It will also save us more than 125-thousand dollars per year.
We anticipate Single Cart recycling to be fully
implemented City-wide by Christmas.
There is no denying our “green goals” are ambitious.
In order to make them a reality, it’s going to take a true team effort.
While Mayor Crotty and our task force will lead the effort, they will not be alone.
We are incorporating a cutting-edge community engagement platform into the launch of the next phase of GreenWorks Orlando.
The City has partnered with a company called Mind Mixer to create a new resident engagement site that will allow us to better incorporate the ideas our residents have for the future of sustainability and enhance the way residents can participate in the decision-making process.
Through the site, residents will be able to play a role in the decisions we make about water, transportation, food, livability, solid waste, energy and growing a healthy economy.
This tool has been used to help make land use decision in California and to select routes for new walking and bike paths in North Carolina.
We could not be more excited to use this pilot
platform to enhance GreenWorks Orlando and continue the effort to better
engage our residents in the work of their City government.
When we talk about collaboration, we can’t forget
about the role of the federal government.
But, make no mistake about it -- our City’s relationship with the federal government has helped us secure a number of game-changing projects.
From Sunrail… to Creative Village… to making sure our police officers and firefighters have the tools and training they need to keep us safe, one of our strongest partners has been the federal government.
The same can be said for sustainability.
We are working with our federal partners to help us create and implement this next stage of Green Works.
Accordingly, we are very excited to have Nancy Sutley
as our featured speaker this morning.
In plain English, she is President Obama’s top adviser when it comes to sustainability and environmental issues.
Prior to serving in the White House, she was Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles.
Her background in local government is one of the reasons, I believe, that this administration has been particularly effective in working with America’s cities.
It’s now my privilege to introduce Nancy Sutley.
Mayor Dyer Closing/Thank You’s
Please join me in saying thank you to Chair Sutley for being with us today and helping us launch this next Phase of Green Works!
That concludes our program this morning.
I want to thank everyone at the Downtown Orlando Partnership for hosting this event every year.
I want to recognize the sponsors that made the State of Downtown Address possible, especially Siemens and OUC.
I want to thank all of our Downtown businesses, big
and small, for their perseverance.
We also want to recognize our Downtown arts community
for all of its hard work.
We can’t forget to recognize our City Commissioners for all they do for our City.
We also want to thank Mayor Jacobs and our partners at Orange County -- and other local and state elected officials for attending this morning and for always working to move our community forward.
I want to thank everyone in this room for attending today… and for your commitment to Downtown Orlando… and our entire City.
Finally, I want to thank all the residents of Orlando.
When I walk around Downtown, I’m often approached by residents who want to give their mayor a compliment or some constructive criticism.
It’s one of the best parts of this job.
Your pride in and passion for our City is infectious and inspiring.
It’s because of you that I know we can accomplish, not just our green goals, but any goal we set out to achieve.
Thank you very much.
Have a great day in Downtown Orlando!